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How this disease changes the shape of your cells - Amber M. Yates

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What shape are your cells? Squishy cylinders? Jagged zig-zags? You might not spend a lot of time thinking about the bodies of these building blocks, but microscopically, small variations can have huge consequences. And while some adaptations change these shapes for the better, others can spark debilitating complications. Amber Yates dives into the science of the malignant sickle-cell mutation.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Amber M. Yates
  • Director Doug Walp
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Art Director Doug Walp
  • 3D Animator Doug Walp
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Script Editor Eleanor Nelsen
  • Fact-checker Laura Shriver
  • See more
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Sickle cell disease is a complex medical condition that affects all of the organ systems in the body. There are numerous types of sickle cell disease which vary in severity. It is thought that around 100,000 people in the United States suffer from sickle cell disease, however, the global burden of this disease is much more significant, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa and India. In the United States, babies are tested as newborns for sickle cell disease because early diagnosis and prompt treatment have been proven to improve the outcome for children diagnosed. Determining that these children were at risk for severe bacterial infections preventable simply with penicillin changed sickle cell disease from being viewed as simply a childhood disorder to a life-long medical condition.

The best way to learn about sickle cell disease is from people living with it. Hear Tiffany and Nicholas tell their story in their own words.

The Sickle Cell Disease Coalition is dedicated to conquering sickle cell disease through improving access to care in the US, increasing the number of health care providers with expertise to care for people with sickle cell disease, undertaking research and clinical trials, and tackling global issues in sickle cell disease.

Check out these links for more information about sickle cell trait and concerns about sickle cell trait in athletes.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Educator Amber M. Yates
  • Director Doug Walp
  • Narrator Susan Zimmerman
  • Art Director Doug Walp
  • 3D Animator Doug Walp
  • Director of Production Gerta Xhelo
  • Editorial Producer Alex Rosenthal
  • Associate Editorial Producer Dan Kwartler
  • Associate Producer Bethany Cutmore-Scott
  • Script Editor Eleanor Nelsen
  • Fact-checker Laura Shriver
  • See more